Carnegie Mellon University
September 04, 2014

News Brief: Carnegie Mellon's Center for the Arts in Society Launches Performance Initiative

Contact: Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Center for the Arts in Society (CAS), a research center in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Fine Arts that investigates the role of arts in societies, is launching a new initiative to explore performance.

CAS plans to approach the concept of performance as an expansive form, from the traditional relationship between an audience and an actor to the constructions of political protest or how we frame our lives through social rituals, athletics, digital devices and everyday acts.

"A close examination of human performance has begun to define most fields, from politics to robotics and from entertainment to art and literature," said James Duesing, CAS director. "It is a topic that has the possibility to bring together many fields of exploration between the arts and humanities with potentially potent results. We plan on creating challenging opportunities for CMU's trove of accomplished faculty to engage with others and push their research."

Leading the performance initiative are Drama Professor Wendy Arons and English Professor Kristina Straub. They will oversee three faculty-led projects, two of which were announced at last night's opening reception for the Miller Gallery exhibit "Changing Channels," which highlighted the previous CAS initiative on new media. The projects are "Performing Peace," directed by John Carson, head of the School of Art, and Jennifer Keating-Miller, associate director of undergraduate research and national fellowships and special faculty in the Department of English, and "Ghosts in the Machines," directed by Larry Shea, associate professor of drama.

A third project will be selected in early 2015 after a competitive open call for proposals.

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